I'm pretty new to the tropical fishkeeping world, I've just built my first tank, as follows:
Juwel Rio 180L Standard Juwel filter and pump setup (black box style) I fitted an Aquaterra 3d "amazon tree" background. Took me a week to take the top off the tank, cut the background to size, and fit, put the brace and top back on, but that's another story. See the pics for the tank. It's fully planted now.
I reckon that the actual water volume is only about 150L now that I have all the substrate, and background in.
My tank is fully cycled. Levels yesterday as follows:
0ppm ammonia 0ppm nitrite 5ppm nitrate 7.4 ph
substrate is gravel.
It's planted with amazon swords, various grasses, and cabomba.
I have 2 largish pieces of bogwood, which I soaked for days before I put in so as not to discolour the water.
I've had my tank fully cycled for a month.
I have 12 Danio Kyathit, and yesterday I went to buy a bristlenosed catfish, as a pleco would grow too large, but instead came away with 3 dwarf chain loaches.
I put the chain loaches in last night, they seemed happy, and today when I get home from work I can't see them, so finally I look behind the background with a torch. I saw them briefly.
There was about a 4mm gap down one side of the background, which I left, thinking that nothing could get behind there, and it would stop the water behind the background getting stagnant.
Turns out the loaches can get through pretty small gaps, which I wasn't aware of :(
So my loaches have got behind, and I'm worried that they'll die.
I have all my danios still in front. They seem happy. eating normally and schooling.
I used aquarium safe silicon to cement the background in place, and I was really pleased with the way it turned out, Exactly the look I was after.
I'm struggling to get the fish back out from behind he background. I've tried with a net, but there's hardly any room to move behind the background, and behind the root part, there's a cave like structure so I can't get them in the net.
I've tried with a syphon, but I can't get at them, and I think this might hurt them, which I don't want to do, obviously.
The only thing I can think of now is to gradually fill behind the background, so that the fish have less room to move and I can net them.
I've plugged the gaps now with slivers of the same background material.
If I unplug the gap again do you think they'll come out?
Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can rescue these poor fish? They're about 2" long. I feel like I've made a schoolboy error here and I'm annoyed as hell with myself that these poor critters are suffering as a result.
I've attached a pic of the tank as it looks now, and one which I took when I was building it, so that you can see behind the background.
It's up against a wall now so I can't get behind it :(
Thanks in advance for any suggestions anyone might have.
Thanks Jen, yeh I love the way it looks, I just wish that I'd not got into this pickle I'm in.
I'll keep my thinking hat on, and hopefully someone can advise me as to what I could do...
At some point I'll try to get around to posting all the pics I have which I took when I was building the tank. Maybe it will help someone who's thinking of a similar project. It took me 3 days to get the top trim and brace off it with a fillet knife. I guess that Juwel don't expect you to take them apart as soon as you buy them :P
It's a bit late but someone should have told you these backgrounds needs to be siliconed in place so no water or fish can get behind. No need to go mad, just a bead of aquarium silicone all the way round then push against the glass and keep in place for 48 hours while the silicone dries. I know that won't help you much now but perhaps next time, or if someone else is reading this...
For now there is really only one way I know of to deal with this for certain. Drain the tank down to about 4" depth, this should make the fish easier to catch and place in a big storage container (try Wickes, Asda or equivalent) or oversized bucket with the original tank water and filter. This temporary home for the fish will allow you to properly drain and clean the tank then fix the background in place properly. Make sure you give the aquarium sealant enough time to fully cure before putting the water back in.
Sorry, I have a very good idea how much of a complete pain in the backside something like this is but I can't think of any other way you can be sure of avoiding a repeat problem further down the line. Let us know how you get on.
Hi EagleC I really appreciate your suggestions, thanks
I have actually considered doing that, but I've got a few issues...
I used aquarium safe black silicon to fix the background to the bottom of the tank, but I didn't do the sides because I thought I needed some flow behind the background to stop the water there getting stagnant. I roughly followed this guide when I fitted it http://www.gillsnfins.ca/3d_install.php - obviously he's using external filtration. Also, I needed the water to be around the entire filter box so that it would work properly. I guess these backgrounds are maybe not designed to be used with internal box filters. Wish I'd simply maxxed my credit card out at the time, but i'd already bought the tank / stand etc brand new so I was loathe to do that.
Now that I've cut the background to shape, I'd rather not remove the filter box from the tank (to put into their temporary home), as I don't have enough background left to cover the whole of the back, and it wouldn't match up properly. There's also a gap underneath the black box, (can't really see it properly in the pic), which I cut a piece of background to fit, but would be nearly impossible to silicon
I'm also worried about the extra stress this would put on my danios - removing them and having them in a bucket for a few days.
Has anyone here used something like this with any success?
I could use an apple corer (or something similar diameter) to punch a hole in the background near the bottom, then fashion a flap of some sort to make a one way gate so they can get back out but not back behind?
I'm clutching at straws here I know....hindsight is a beautiful thing, eh?
Several points to make here: Firstly, Dwarf chain loaches are really much happier in at least a medium size school. they're really curious, social fish, and will happily swim around mid water, in daylight hours, if you have them in a group of 8+. I have a dozen and they're actually more active than (and chase!)the tiger barbs that they share the tank with.
This is likely to be part of your problem. The lovely little dears are really very social creatures, and are probably feeling a little intimidated with only three in the tank.
the second point is that they are very sneaky, squirmy creatures. They fit in the smallest possible places, and love to explore any nook, cranny or cave they can find. Mine have several coconut houses and cave-y bogwood to play and hide in. If you provide them with somewhere more fun to hide, they will go there.
In the short term, try luring them out with blood worm and give them something new to explore. then slowly chock up the entry hole they got in through, or drain the tank completely, silicone, and re fill.
As a little longer term, they're much less likely to hide away if you have more of them. I know they're not a cheap fish to buy (at least not in oz, where they retail around $20 ea.) but they're well worth the investment, and a bigger school will show them off to their best advantage as the lovely playful fish that they are.